I’ve made quite a few beads! Some are really nice!
And some are pretty ugly…they are rather experimental, so don’t abuse the artist too much. I was trying to make some Islamic Folded Beads, but found that they are tediously long to build and don’t always turn out right. In other words, my skill level is not yet up to that standard.
I started another technique that involves using a pointy tool, much like a dental scraper, but thicker and stronger. I made the core of the bead then added stripes and dragged the tool over the surface of the glass, deforming the stripes, which looked very much like the folded beads, and took a fraction of the time. Many of these turned out pretty cool, but others didn’t do as well…a bit lumpy and coarse. One had a fatal flaw that caused…well…
…sudden bead death. I didn’t get this one into the vermiculite fast enough, so it cooled down too quickly, causing stress fractures. I could glue it back together, but there’s no telling if other fractures might appear later.
The perle cotton tablet weaving is coming along. I have about a yard done so far on this particular piece. The threads are pretty fine (#8 DMC perle cotton, found at any fabric or craft store) and slick, which makes the cards turn so smoothly…like buttah! The cost of materials is a bit higher, but not astronomically high. We’re talking about $12-15 spent for this project so far…maybe more if I need to use another $3 skein of thread for weft…instead of $5 for an entire project. Yeah, it’s about triple or quadruple, but still cheap for what it is.
My plans in the not-too-distant-future (say, summer) is to build something like this:
It goes with my sheep-to-shawl plan. You know…take the fleece from the sheep and turn it into a wearable garment.
1. Make loom.
2. Spin fibers.
3. Weave into cloth.
4. Full cloth.
5. Make something from cloth, like a 10th century Danish apron dress.
If I can finish all that by next January, I can enter things into Kingdom Arts & Sciences. I was told (by a supportive Laurel friend) to enter three things: loom, woven stuff and beads. I think I can do it…but I’m going to have to do some serious work over the summer.
This goes well with the advise I received from *another* Laurel friend, who said to stay within a particular scope of time/culture when you enter Kingdom-level contests. In her experience, being “all over the map” doesn’t show as well as being a bit more focused.
I’m thinking I should build a prototype of the loom first; try to build it out of really cheap materials, like 2″ x 4″ and 1″ x 2″, then make a more ‘natural’ product out of cut trees. I can’t even imagine what I’d need to do to cull trees from the neighborhood or out in the wilderness somewhere. Maybe someone in the SCA has a piece of property they’re willing to let me cut a tree from. First things first…build the prototype.